Antibiotics are known to be life-savers and, without any doubt, they are heavily used in this country. However, like all drugs, antibiotics have side effects, and some may be dangerous and deadly. This is especially true with a class of drugs called fluoroquinolones that include Levaquin, Cipro, and Avelox. It’s been reportedly that more than 33 million Americans take one or more of these antibiotics each year. In 2010, Levaquin was the bestselling antibiotic in the country.
There is a good chance that you or a family member has taken one of these potentially harmful drugs within the last year. Serious questions have been raised about the safety of these medications – most notably Levaquin – since they came to market in 1996. Until recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did little to warn doctors and consumers of the possible deadly side effects of these drugs. By 2010, Levaquin was involved in more than 3,400 lawsuits and as many as 5,000 deaths.
Warnings surrounding the popular antibiotic Levaquin have been dangerously insufficient. The drug, capable of causing debilitating tendinitis, permanent nerve damage, and even psychosis, is meant to be reserved for severe life-threatening infections. Unfortunately, many doctors are prescribing fluoroquinolones like Levaquin for non-life threatening conditions such as earaches, bronchitis, sinusitis, and other ailments that could be allowed to resolve on their own or are easily treated with lesser drugs or non-drug remedies.
The over-use has led to bacterial resistance and serious, possibly life-threatening side effects in people who should not be taking the drug for less severe conditions. The FDA has finally taken steps to warn the public. While the agency was slow to act, at least it finally did so. For more information contact Melissa Prickett, a lawyer in our Mass Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Melissa.Prickett@beasleyallen.com.
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